I watched my kids disappear inside the tinted-window bus, and I felt that deep stirring in my soul as I waved goodbye. I wondered if they could see me, standing at my station as I do each morning, waving at the windows of the bus as it pulls away. I could see tiny, glowing screens shining through the windows, as kids prepared for the long-ish bus ride by plugging in to their iPods and phones.
I thought about my son's science test today, the way he teared up this morning because he knows he isn't ready, and about my daughter's art class after school, meaning she won't get home until dinner-time, and how they both sometimes just want to be at home, but we have pushed them to do activities, to be involved, to engage in the community. And mostly they have, and mostly they enjoy them, and I know it's good for them, but sometimes I wonder.
Are they happy?
Are we happy?
As a family, I mean.
Where does this internal struggle, this restless feeling, come from if everyone is pretty much okay?
I'm so conflicted. I really am. I want my kids to have an activity, something they can have fun doing and feel good about, yet practices and lessons and homework always run into dinner-time, making it nearly impossible to eat dinner together as a family. And half the time it runs into our time at church, too, making it difficult to go as a family, or even go at all. And instead of being together, we mostly divide and conquer.
I remember the days when all we had to do was play outside, take a nap, and wait for daddy to get home. When messy art projects and step-stools and bubble baths and running around naked because the diaper chaffs ruled, and I would look at them and wish they would grow up quickly so they could clean up after themselves (they still don't) and wash their own hands, and then just as quickly wish they would never, ever, ever grow up and stay my babies forever, in these moments of life bliss. I would secretly wish for time to stop, just for a few seconds, so I could linger in the sound of tiny footsteps running, the baby belly giggles, made-up rhymes and sticky, gooey faces.
Sometimes I get lost in a daydream, my thoughts drifting back to when my kids were small. Sometimes I jerk myself awake, because those same thoughts make me sad, and I feel tears pricking my eyes, because I realize time refuses to reverse itself, and I know I didn't (and don't) fully appreciate every single precious minute like I should have. Sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago. Sometimes it seems like yesterday.
Homeschooling runs through my mind (as well as moving to the jungle, or maybe just Montana) and then I chase it right back out again. I know myself, and I know my kids, and I know it would never, ever work.
There goes that restless feeling again.
But this is what we chose. This is what we feel is right for us. To create well-rounded, balanced, versatile citizens who give back to their community. But the shoulders I saw this morning were rounded, and not in a good way.
I'm sure it was just a blah kind of morning, and tomorrow will be better, but I still have that unsettled feeling in my soul. Maybe we will get used to the pace we've set, see that being well-rounded does more for us and that missing a few family dinners together and the occasional church service isn't that big of a deal.